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Trolling Motor Quick Disconnect

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

This afternoon I glued all the rail spacers into place.  While waiting for them to cure, I did a little work on the aft breasthook.  I modified it to accept the inwale and also to install a quick disconnect for the trolling motor wiring.  I decided to have a quick disconnect so that I could remove the trolling motor / rudder for trailering and / or use the sail-only rudder which I plan to build.  A Japanese saw and a 1-1/8″ hole cutter was used to modify the breasthook. As you can see in the pictures, the power wires will run under the breasthook, then inside the rail to the center frame where they will connect with the battery.  In the second picture you can see how the plug connects the breasthook power to the tiller / speed control.

Time Spent: 2.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 86.0 Hours

Final Rudder Shaping

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools

I finished shaping the rudder today.  The microballoon thickened epoxy was quite easy to sand with the random orbit sander.  Once it was properly shaped, I took a few minutes to make sure it rotated freely in the rudder head housing.

Time Spent: 1.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 80.5 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – More Shaping

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications

I just finished putting on a second layer of epoxy thickened with microballoons onto the rudder to fair the trolling motor.  The clamped down paint stirrer is compressing the trolling motor cable run and epoxy into the channel I cut.  I also took some time to sand a bullet nose leading edge and a tapered trailing edge into the rudder.

Time Spent: 0.5 Hours

Total Time In Build: 79.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – More Reinforcement and Shaping

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications

As promised, I added some more epoxy to the rudder to further strengthen and eventually shape it.  After an initial coat of strong epoxy thickened with high density silica, I mixed up some low density microballons and epoxy to build up the rudder.  Once cured, this stuff sands much easier than normal epoxy and is easy to shape.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 73.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – Reinforcement and More Cutting and Gluing

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

With the epoxy holding the rudder and motor together now cured, I drilled some holes to feed cable ties through and around the motor.  I am using these to reinforce the bound between the two components.  The motor is a considerable amount of weight and I don’t want it falling off the rudder.  I will also be using more epoxy and fiberglass to further reinforce and fair at a later time.

Once the initial reinforcement was down, I cut an additional piece of wood to fit below the motor and behind its metal skeg.  My thought is that this could give the rudder a little more authority, and it will look better in the end.  Once that piece was cut to fit, I build a jig to hold the assembly inverted and I glued it to the motor.  Again, I used epoxy thickened with silica.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 72.0 Hours

Custom Electric Rudder – Cutting and Gluing

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Epoxy, Modifications, Tools, Woodworking

I knew from the start of my project that I wanted to build a rudder with an electric trolling motor built into it.  You may recall from previous posts that I bought the motor and cut it apart.  It has been sitting dormant for a couple week now while I contemplated fit / angling / wiring / etc.  Things that I considered:

1) Fore / aft weight distribution: I wanted to make sure the center of mass of the motor was directly below the rudder kick-up bolt.

2) Angle:  The rudder is curved at the front and sloped at the back, so I could not mount it perpendicular to either of these surfaces.  I did some measurements with the rudder head and found the angle that would leave the motor parallel with the water surface.

3) Wiring: I spent a ton of time figuring out how to run the four wires up the rudder and into the rudder head.  I probably spent the most amount of time doing this.  The complicated part is the kick up feature of the rudder.  I figured out how to do the routing and drew that onto the rudder, but you won’t see the detail in the photos until I complete that step.

4) Kick-up rudder position lines:  The Skerry is designed with only one line that is pulled to lower the rudder and then cleated off to maintain it’s down position.  Since the rudder will be many times heavier than designed, I figured out how to make an internal line to pull up and cleat off the rudder.  This will require modifications to the rudder head interior, but again, you won’t see pictures of that yet.

So with all that planning done, I started cutting the rudder with a handsaw.  When close enough, I used my router and flush trim bit to make the fit perfect.  Once I had the rudder cut to size, I used some clamps and sawhorses to build a jig that would hold the motor.  Next, I glued the wooden rudder to the motor using epoxy thickened with silica.  I’ll continue work on this tomorrow.

Time Spent: 4.5 Hours (3 of which were spent planning over the past couple weeks).

Total Time In Build: 71.0 Hours


Cutting Apart a Brand New Trolling Motor

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Modifications

I received my new Minn Kota Endura C2 40 pound thrust trolling motor today.  After hooking it up to my battery and making sure it worked I started unscrewing the head and realized just how simple it is.  The head contains only a rotary switch, two battery leads, and 4 motor leads.  Now I just have to figure out how to encorporate the switch into the tiller.

Time Spent: 1.0 Hours

Total Time In Build: 51.5 Hours

Modification #1 – Electric Trolling Motor

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Auxiliary Propulsion, Decisions, Modifications

From all accounts, the Skerry is an excellent sailer and a decent rowboat, but I want to add a little something extra that will make my Skerry a standout.  I am going to add auxiliary electric propulsion in the form of a modified trolling motor.  This will be no easy task as the Skerry has no transom.  My plan is to hack the motor apart and somehow fiberglass it into the rudder.  I hope to locate the electronics under the rear breasthook and the battery aft of the center frame.  Even more ambitious is that I want to install the twist grip throttle mechanism in the wooden tiller.  My intent is to keep the wooden boat look.  Other vessels should not be able to tell I have a motor.

This has been done before, but to my knowledge, not to a Skerry.  Because a trolling motor in the rudder would increase drag considerably during sailing, I can take one of two routes to prevent this.  The first method is to build a second, sailing only rudder.  The second method is to build the rudder with a shape that allows it to be half kicked up, motor part out of the water, steering part in the water.  And example of an “always submerged motor” and a “half kick-up” sailing rudder are attached.

I am not sure which method I will use, but I do know which motor.  I bought a Minn-Kota Endura C2 on and it should be here in a couple days.  I purchased the 40 pound thrust model after looking at the manual online and visiting bass pro to look at other similar models.  From what I can tell in the manual, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty tearing it apart and relocating electronics.  We shall see…

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